Skip to main content

1918 Letter from China

In the papers from my great-great Aunt Katie was this letter from a friend who must have been on a missionary mission in China. It is dated 1918, and is written on paper made from bamboo.  At the time of this letter, Katie was living on a farm outside of a tiny town in the middle of the Great Plains. She seems to get letters from friends that traveled all over.

The letter documents the practice of some people in China who got rid of baby girls. I tried finding "Kutien" on a map, but that seems to be the English translation of either a district of Fuzhou, or of Gutian. There was a lot of missionary activity in that region before WWII.

"Kutien, China April 6, 1918

Dear Miss Bookless - Thus far the New Year has been fulfilling your wishes to me. It has been bringing joy and peace to me. The work goes nicely. Yesterday morning we had another baby left at our gate. A two day old girl wrapped in old rags and placed in a little basket and this hung on a bush. But this casting away of baby girls gets less and less all the time. We sent her to the City Magistrate but it was beautiful to see the way our Chinese Christians took pity on the little creature. They wanted to keep her but the Magistrate wants to stop this kind of work so we must send the cast a-way babies to him and

he tries to find out who is guilty. They would be punished if discovered. The baby will be put in the City Orphanage and no knowing what will become of it afterward. It is hard to have to see such things.

Again thanking you for your New Years Greetings. I am

Your Friend
Laura Frazey

This is Chinese paper made of bamboo pith."

Comments

Jenna said…
These letters are an interesting look into the past and a reminder that we're really not so advanced - at least emotionally. Plus you get to see a side of a family member that we might not have known about. Your Aunt must have been a great friend to so many people!

Hope you continue on.
Ian Welch said…
I believe Miss Frazey was with the Methodist Episcopal Church mission in Kutien, also known as Kucheng. In modern Chinese it is Gutian. It is located about 90 miles nw of Foochow in Fujian province. Easily found on Google Maps.

Ian Welch, Canberra, Australia

Popular posts from this blog

Reducing CO2 in your home the nerd way

For Christmas my wife gave me a Netatmo weather station because I am a home weather station nerd. The Netatmo is very cool, but it has an unexpected feature: it measures indoor Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels. As soon as I set it up, the Netatmo began to alert that our indoor CO2 was at an unsafe level. The notes said that outdoor CO2 is usually around 400 ppm, and numbers above 1500 ppm could be unhealthy. On that first day, my house was at around 1300 ppm. Prior to that, I never gave indoor CO2 levels a thought. I began to do some research and discovered high levels of CO2 can cause symptoms such as fatigue, headache, breathing difficulties, strained eyes and itchy skin.  My family does have all of these issues, especially on the weekends when we are home all day, but I never connected that to indoor air quality. Previously, I installed a Nest thermostat . The Nest is very smart and saves energy by learning your habits and programming itself. Unfortunately, it is so efficient, that t

Global Entry - The TSA Trusted Traveler Program - or - How to Go In The Short Line At The Airport Security

Ever since September 11th, 2001, flying has been a hassle. With each failed attempt to smuggle explosives on an airplane, the TSA makes us get more undressed at airport security. In fact, for really early morning flights, we should probably all just show up in our jammies and then get dressed once we are through the scanner because currently we get up, get dressed, go to the airport, get half undressed, go through security, and then get dressed again. For quite some time, people have been asking the TSA so implement some kind of pre-screening program where travelers could have a background check in advance, and then be allowed to go in a shorter line. That day is finally here, and the TSA is now rolling out a Trusted Traveler Program known as Global Entry . In a nutshell, you pay $100, fill out some online forms, go in for an interview, present your proof of ID, and get fingerprinted and photographed. Yes, it sounds like some red tape, but then, every time you make an airline reser

How To Make School Lunches More Nutritious: Re-Define Words

If you are a parent of a child who attends public school in Washington, and if you have even a vague recollection of the food pyramid , you probably will have noticed that the lunches that are served in school cafeterias are frequently at odds with the rules of good nutrition. The school is not wrong, however. They have just re-defined words and you are not keeping up. Pop quiz:  Cheese belongs to what food group? *bzzz* - wrong. You said that cheese was in the diary food group , right? No! Pbth! How boringly accurate of you. Cheese magically transforms into a protein when it is served on pizza or in a bread stick! I know that you may be dubious, but I contacted Wendy Barkley, RD,  who is the Acting Supervisor of School Nutrition Programs in the State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and she assured me that it is so. To quote her email to me: " Pizza remains an option for schools for their menus.  The cheese on pizza is counted as a protein in t